Off-road holidays in Mallorca, or how to change the beach for a craft workshop
A maternity leave in the middle of winter led the German Lisa Heschel to choose a place to spend the first weeks with her newborn in a place less cold than Berlin. She had been to Mallorca several times on vacation and, together with her partner, she decided to move to Pollença, in the north of the island, for a few months to enjoy a warmer winter. The need to find some space in her recently opened maternity hospital made her go online to look for ceramics courses, but she didn’t find much on offer. Finally, and after doing some research through social networks, she found a local artist who agreed to give her some private classes in her workshop.
From this idea came the germ of what is today Dada-Days, a digital platform that allows those who spend a few days on vacation in Mallorca to access experiences that go beyond the gastronomic or sun and beach offer. Through this website, Heschel offers courses in different disciplines with the added value of taking them in the private workshops of the artisans and accessing places scattered throughout the island geography that they would not know through the tours usual.
Ceramic and jewelry classes in Sóller; bookbinding in Palma; experimental drawing in the artistic Deià, or learning the technique of collage inspired by Joan Miró facing the sea in Cas Català. To these are added other courses in calligraphy, glass, dance or Japanese botanical design using the Kokedama technique that can be done in small private groups or together with other visitors who share the desire to participate in a different activity for a few hours.
“My experience when I took the classes was very good, especially because of the possibility of entering the craftsman’s workshop. I really thought it was something very authentic that allowed me to get to know Mallorca in a different way”, Heschel explained to EL PAÍS, who before leaving Berlin to start this adventure worked in an art gallery in the German capital. When the maternity leave was over, the couple returned to Germany. “It was February and it was very cold. The city began to seem heavy for me to live with a child and after thinking about it a lot, we decided to return to live in Mallorca ”, he says.
With the idea in mind, he discovered the immense cultural offer of the Balearic island, complemented by dozens of gastronomic or outdoor proposals, but with a void of courses and workshops to “work with your hands” for a few hours and live a more close to the reality of the area. Little by little he was recruiting artisans for his proposal, which many have seen as an opportunity to make themselves known beyond the borders of Mallorca.
Under a bougainvillea roof, in the patio of her workshop in Sóller, the ceramist Luciana Luca teaches courses. A German family of seven is busy turning lathes to shape bowls. “I love that people get to know Mallorca and not just take the beaches as memories. There are many artists, a lot of culture, and open my little atelier It’s like opening the door of my house”, says Luca.
The courses also give her the opportunity to meet “very interesting” people who even write to her over time to tell her about their progress. Most of the clients of these courses are German, although there are also Austrians, Swedes and a good group of foreigners who reside most of the year on the island. Those who give the workshops are natives of Mallorca or artisans who have been living here for many years.
The main attraction of the activities is, for Heschel, the connection that is created when you enter a creative workshop and get to work with your hands. “It’s not easy for visitors to get to know people here or understand the authentic customs in as short a time as a vacation usually is,” she says.
Its objective is for the workshops to act as a “catalyst and source of inspiration” to achieve a more respectful and responsible approach towards a top-level tourist destination like Mallorca, offering a new perspective that raises awareness “of the need for socially committed tourism”. In the future, its creator hopes that Dada-Days can be expanded to other places to allow its visitors to immerse themselves in the destination, always through an artistic perspective.